The History of EcoSuperior
It was 1995...
when EcoSuperior Environmental Programs was launched in Thunder Bay as your green community organization. Back then, we were known as Thunder Bay 2002 Clean & Green. Formed by a group of community partners known as the Lakehead Environmental Action Group and funded by the NDP’s Green Community initiative, the fledgling non-profit was well-equipped to help area residents learn to conserve through one-on-one coaching by our Home Green Up teams.
In that first busy year, we had more than 20 employees, over $700,000 in provincial funding and a goal of providing free Home Green Up visits to 1000 homes. We were well on the way to exceeding that goal when suddenly the provincial election was followed by an announcement that stunned us all…the program had been scrapped. All provincial funding was eliminated, effective immediately. All but two employees were laid off.
As Kermit the Frog has oft been quoted, “it ain’t easy being green.” But our Board of Directors was determined to see the good work started by the group continue, and went to our community partners with a restructuring plan. Through community contributions and a fee-for-service contract with the City of Thunder Bay, we found a way to survive. We looked for new projects and new funding agencies, and gradually started to rebuild the organization.
In the years since then, the organization has faced many challenges, changed its address five times and even changed its name. Over time, we managed to re-hire several of our original employees, and some are still with us today. We are very proud of the dedicated people who work with us, providing information and assistance to area residents who want to build a healthier environment and a sustainable community. We are also proud of our role as a mentoring organization that has helped launch and support other environmental groups, such as Superior Renewable Energy Cooperative.
In 2010, EcoSuperior purchased property at the corner of Red River Road and Hill Street, with an ambitious plan to renovate the two buildings on site to create a centre of excellence for conservation and resource efficiency. Renovations are now underway and our capital funding campaign will soon be launched.
EcoSuperior is alive and well today thanks to the tremendous support provided by the communities we serve, our funding partners and the people who participate in our programs and projects. We celebrated our 20th anniversary in 2015 and look forward to many more years of community programming in the Lake Superior Basin.